What Did Kevin Get Himself Into Now?

What Did Kevin Get Himself Into Now?

This summer I was lucky enough to get a job working with Environment Canada at the world’s most northern permanently inhabited location in the World! (no, not Santa’s Palace nor Superman’s Crib, but they live close by) This location is of course Canadian Forces Station Alert, Nunavut (aka CFS Alert). Alert started out as a joint weather station between the US and Canada, now it is a military station run by the Canadian Air Force and has approximatey 100 personnel, most of which are military. The position I have is with the GAW (Global Atmosphere Watch) lab which collects data on a variety of surface and atmospheric a variables as well as pollutants.

Monday, 30 April 2012

First Few Days in Canada's True North

Well, my summer job started out by driving to CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Trenton where I waited for my fighter jet to take me to my winter wonderland. OK, it wasn’t a fighter jet (and I’m no Defence Minister), but at least I didn’t have to take a C-130 (aka a Hercules). What was supposed to be a 7-9 hour flight in a Herc (which are renowned for being old, loud, and generally painful flights) turned out to be a 5 hour flight in one of Canada’s most luxurious military transportation planes available: a C-17. These planes are HUGE! I have been told they can transport two LAVs (Light Armoured Vehicles), but mine only had one bus, still, impressive. Unlike any flight I have ever been on this one stuck to its schedule and we boarded the plane pretty dang close to the planned time, which was 4 AM.
When we arrived at Alert one of the first things I noticed (after the cold and barren landscape) was how friendly and welcoming the people are. Everyone on the plane was very friendly, and at the entrance to the main building for the station was a crowd of people applauding for those who had arrived with the flight. This is one of the most welcoming and kind places I have ever been. After a few introductions I received a tour of the main building from the student I would be replacing, Sarah Luce, who is also a University of Guelph Engineering student!

My first real day of work was Thursday and we had to travel off station to get to our lab. Unfortunately (well, fortunate for me) our truck was broken and we had to take the snowmobiles out to the lab. Snowmobiling across the frozen, windswept, arctic tundra was a lot of fun. At the end of the day we also stopped by at Suicide peak where someone had jumped off and, well, committed suicide. The view here was gorgeous, unfortunately I forgot my camera! So, from now on I bring my camera everywhere.

This past weekend Cale, one of the guys that was on my flight, and I went down to the hydrogen building to launch a weather balloon with another Environment Canada employee. This isn`t really my job, launching weather balloons is more of a novelty thing that everyone in Alert does for fun. On the way down to the hydrogen building we stopped and took some pictures.

We also ran into a few wolves and, luckily, I had brought my camera!

The first wolf was much, much, bigger than I thought arctic wolves would be. I knew they would be big, but seeing them up close was really shocking. I would guess he was about 5 to 6 feet long (not including the tail), and he looked mean!

He came within 10 feet of me and Cale so I quickly hopped into the truck. We saw a second smaller wolf a few minutes later. This one looked a lot less mean and kept its distance